RHASS Reports a Year of Growth & Profitability

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has reported a year of growth with total income in the year ended 30 November 2016 at £7.85 million (2015: £7.07 million), an increase of £779k.

RHASS Chairman Keith Brooke said: “RHASS is in a very strong financial position with good performance across membership, Royal Highland Centre and The Royal Highland Show. This robust financial position will enable the Society to fulfil our charitable aims including delivering the award-winning Royal Highland Show.”

Adding to Keith’s comments, RHASS Chief Executive Alan Laidlaw said: “This is an exciting time as the Society forges ahead with our ambitious investment programme in the Royal Highland Centre. Our vision is to create the best outdoor event space in Scotland and we are making great strides in achieving this.

“We are committed to being a dynamic and progressive membership organisation playing a supportive and influential role in a thriving rural economy. Our investment in the Royal Highland Centre asset during this financial year will ensure we remain a sustainable business with an ability to generate sufficient funds to allow us to meet our charitable remit, including our significant financial support of the Royal Highland Education Trust.”

Annual Review

For full details view the 2016 annual review below:

RHASS Annual Review 2016


Lanarkshire girl heads to Singapore to represent Scotland’s agricultural industry

Carol-Anne Warnock from Sandilands Farm, Lanark has been awarded funding by The Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) to attend the forthcoming Commonwealth agricultural conference in Singapore.

Organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC), the conference will attract over fifty leading national and regional agricultural show societies working in twenty Commonwealth countries when it meets for its 27th conference on 2nd November.

Carol-Anne (34) who works as an agricultural consultant for SAC Consulting will join the Next Generation delegation as they seek to develop an international support system to foster the collaboration between commonwealth countries.

Tackling issues such as food waste management, food sustainability and involving the next generation, Carol-Anne will hear from eminent speakers including RASC President, HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne and Baroness Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary General.

Education will play a big part in the conference and this is something that is close to Carol-Anne’s heart.  She is the daughter of Jimmy Warnock who last year received an OBE for his services to education.

Commenting on her trip, Carol-Anne said: It was a colleague who recommended applying for the bursary following their experiences at one of the previous conferences in Brisbane. I am excited at the prospect of meeting likeminded people from around the Commonwealth and hearing about how agriculture is faring in their part of the world. I am very grateful to RHASS for being afforded this opportunity and to my employers SAC Consulting for being so accommodating in allowing me to attend.

RHASS Chairman, Keith Brooke added: “The Society is delighted that Carol-Anne, along with two other NG delegates, will represent Scotland at this prestigious event.  We are confident that the candidates chosen to receive funding from the Society will showcase the work we are doing here in Scotland to engage and inspire the next generation through our work with RHET and the Royal Highland Show.  We wish Carol-Anne a safe and productive trip.”



RHASS seeks applicants for farming conference


The Board of Directors of RHASS are delighted to be able to offer two sponsored places to attend the Oxford Farming Conference 2017.

Those who are interested in applying to be considered for sponsorship will, ideally, already be involved within the agricultural sector and will be able to demonstrate the reasons why attendance at the conference will benefit them personally.  Those interested in applying should complete the application below and return it to the email address stated, before 28 October 2016.

Application Form


JLH - Jimmy Douglas - 7958

James (Jimmy) Gray Douglas from Fraserburgh, a sheep breeder recognised by fellow breeders and stockmen throughout the industry as an outstanding livestock breeder, judge and exhibitor, is the 2016 recipient of one of the livestock industry’s most prestigious prizes, the Sir William Young Award.

The award, from the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), recognises outstanding contribution to livestock breeding and commemorates the service to Scottish agriculture by the late Sir William Young, Skerrington Mains, Hurlford, Kilmarnock. Last year renowned Blackface and Charolais breeder, Archie MacGregor of Allanfauld, Kilsyth, won the award.

Jimmy (77) farms at Woodhead of Cairness, Fraserburgh, an arable and grassland farm which he bought in 1960 and started the Cairness Suffolk sheep flock. Acknowledged as one of the few truly exceptional breeders of Suffolk, Texel and Border Leicester sheep, Jimmy has been involved with sheep breeding since he was child, helping his father at Milton of Clola near Mintlaw with his flock of Border Leicesters, from which he adopted the Clola prefix for his own flock.

For 67 consecutive years Jimmy has sold rams in Aberdeen Mart. In 1960 Jimmy was achieving 1200gns when 200gns was a fair price. He has always had one of the top flock averages, selling rams regularly for sums in excess of £20,000 to £30,000 and, in 1994, he set a new breed record selling Cairness Court to John Sinnet for 26,000gns.

With a motto of “always buy the best, no matter the price”, Jimmy has always been at the front of the queue when it comes to buying sheep, paying 220,000gns for Deveronvale Perfection in 2009, the world record priced Texel sheep. In 1993 he paid 22,000gns for Pankymoor Prelude, who was the sire of the 26,000gns Cairness Court. In 1995 he bought Muiresk King of Diamonds, the sire of his most famous ewe, K55, for 68,000gn, a breed record at the time.

It’s unquestionably with his Suffolk flock that he has enjoyed the most success, dominating the breed for 30 years. He has achieved 12 champions and three reserve champions at the National Suffolk Sale and six champions and five reserve champions at Edinburgh (now Stirling) sale. The Suffolk Sheep Society is dominated by Cairness Blood, with all the top flocks benefiting from Jimmy’s bloodlines. The two top priced Suffolk sheep, Ardlea Ardbenning, £90,000, and Stockton Almighty, £75,000, are both sired by or out of Cairness stock.

Today, Jimmy’s flock numbers 40 ewes. The citation, written by Angus Howie who nominated Jimmy for the awards, reads: “Jimmy is still as passionate today as he was 50 years ago.  His contribution to sheep breeding is immense: he is a highly talented individual and the most prolific and consistent Suffolk sheep breeder of our generation. His whole life has been the pursuit of perfection. His attention to detail is second to none. At the age of 77, he shows no signs of slowing down.”


650 SP2

RHASS announces nine Technical Innovation Award winners in Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design

Media Release

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has awarded one gold medal, three silver medals and five certificates of commendation under its Technical Innovation Award scheme for 2016, Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design.

The gold award, which is presented for continuous outstanding merit to a previous silver medal winner, has gone to: BD Supplies, Methven for its KVK Hoof Trimming Chute.

Designed to provide an optimum working posture for the hoof trimmer and minimum discomfort to the livestock, the KVK Chute construction is tried and tested. The chute is easy to use and guarantees the trimmer a correct working posture. To keep livestock healthy, hooves must be checked regularly and trim as necessary to ensure optimum comfort and yield.

The three Silver medals have been award to: Kverneland for its ‘2500 i-plough, a fully-mounted plough range that is perhaps one of the biggest innovations in farm machinery since development of the plough itself; Vicon for its ‘Vicon FastBale’, featuring a unique dual chamber design, Vicon FastBale keeps on baling when other machines are stopped. FastBale at a stroke renders all other baler-wrappers obsolete; and Water Powered Technologies Ltd for its ‘Papa Pump’, a patented Zero Energy Water Pump that utilises the flow of Natural water from a spring, stream or river source to pump some of that water to higher levels and pressures without the requirement for any electric or Fuels.

Lastly, the four certificate of commendation have been awarded to: Stewart Duncan for its ‘Lamb Feeding Machine’ designed to ease the feeding of orphan lambs, with each lamb getting a controlled amount of milk with no interference from bigger lambs; JFC MFG Europe, for its DBL9 Dumpy Tip-Over Drinker, an all-new 3.5 litre rotating drink bowl that allows the farmer empty the bowl by the press of a button; Massey Ferguson for its MF 5713 SL Tractor with ‘All-in-one’ system, a new genre of tractor that employs the latest refinement to the pioneering Selective Catalytic Reduction system (SCR); Quickfencer Ltd for its Quickfencer Woodprocessor, designed for the farmer or the estate who have their own Biomass Boiler or similar, who need to process large amounts of logs. With this machine shearing instead of sawing the logs dry out faster; and finally Kramer Werk Gmbh, for its Fully electric loader 5055e, a fully electric, emission free, all-wheel-steering 5055e wheel loader from Kramer with 80- volt technology.

As always, the awards, sponsored by the Hillhouse Quarry Group Ltd, attracted a high number of entries. With a remit to reward innovation in the design and manufacture of machines, equipment and appliances, the awards are the oldest presented by the RHASS, which gave its first “premium” for an implement in 1793 to a “new-invented plough of an improved construction adapted for the culture of Highland farms.”

RHASS Chief Steward John Mackie said: “These awards are to encourage and recognise innovation in the design and manufacture of machines, equipment and appliances which advance the effective and efficient practice of either agriculture, horticulture, equestrian, forestry, renewable energy or estate services. They are judged on individual merit and, as always, there was a wealth of entries that made it very hard to choose from.”

Richard Vernon from Hillhouse Quarry Group Ltd said: “Hillhouse has been delighted to sponsor the Technical Innovation Award at the Royal Highland Show with many excellent entries and winners over the years.   With 2016 being Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, it is with some pride that we continue to be associated with and supportive of the awards.”

Panel members were: C J Shepherd, E Brewis, R J Maitland, A C Stewart, J D McWilliam and W T Arnot








The Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has announced the appointment of Alan Laidlaw as Chief Executive.

Alan (38) from East Lothian, will take over responsibility for RHASS, the Edinburgh based charity that contributes £250m to the Scottish economy through its events business and flagship event, The Royal Highland Show.

Currently Head of Property at The Crown Estate Scotland, Alan’s role will be to strengthen the Society’s influence in promoting and protecting the interests of land based industries on behalf of its 15,000 members.

He will also oversee the £20million investment in the 280-acre Royal Highland Centre site at Ingliston adjacent to Edinburgh Airport that attracts over 1million visitors each year.

The announcement comes just two weeks ahead of the Society’s 176th Royal Highland Show that is expected to attract in the region of 200,000 people over the four-day event (23 – 26 June).

A passionate advocate for engaging the next generation and strengthening the relationship between producer and consumer, Alan is particularly looking forward to working with the board of The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) to create a food literate generation through the charity’s extensive outdoor learning programme.

Commenting on the appointment, RHASS Chairman, Willie Gill said: “Alan’s commercial, business and property experience, combined with his obvious passion for the success of Scotland’s rural economy, makes him an ideal candidate for this position. He impressed us with his understanding and appreciation of the Society’s aims and objectives and gave us every comfort that he has the skills and drive to deliver our charitable aims.”

Alan added: “As a lifetime RHASS member and regular show-goer, I am deeply honoured and excited at the prospect of playing a pivotal role in the Society’s future. Attending the Show this year will be of even greater significance and it will be an ideal opportunity for me to look at the Show with fresh eyes before I take the reigns officially at the end of the summer.”

Alan has previously worked for Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Smiths Gore. He is an associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies, and a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), RICS Scottish Rural Professional Group, and a director of the Oxford Farming Conference. He has contributed to the Scottish Government working groups on Community Ownership and New Entrant Opportunities on Public Land.

He is a family man with a keen interest in the outdoors, rugby and the countryside.



Alan Laidlaw


Solid Performance For RHASS In 2015 – Positive Results And Strong Balance Sheet

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has reported a solid performance with total income in the year ended November 30, 2015 at £7.06 million (2014: £7.26 million), down marginally on 2014 due to a £301,000 reduction in bequests: underlying income increased by £105,000.

The Royal Highland Show delivered a second successive year of record revenue, breaking the £4 million barrier for the first time. Other main income streams included subscriptions and rents at £526,000 and £954,000 generated by the Royal Highland Centre.

With expenditure at £6.3 million (2014: £6.2 million), the operating surplus stands at £0.73 million (2014: £1.05 million).

Higher expenditure has been experienced due mainly to the increased cost of staging the Show. Other notable increases are to be found in Depreciation Costs, this is the result of increased investment in the site.

The Net Assets stand at £14.77 million (£14.1 million in 2014) with significant growth in Fixed Assets, whilst Investments increased by £629,000 as a result of the prudent re-allocation of underperforming cash reserves into a management investment portfolio.

RHASS’ Chairman, Willie Gill, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Society. Mr Gill said: “The Society is in a very strong financial position with good performance across membership, Royal Highland Centre and The Royal Highland Show. The Society is focused on supporting and encouraging the best of agriculture and developing a greater appreciation of the impact of this industry on everyday life; we are satisfied that our robust financial position will allow us to forge ahead with our charitable remit in these challenging times for the industry.”

Adding to Willie’s comments, RHASS’ Chief Executive, Stephen Hutt, said: “It is good to see another year of underlying growth, this position of strength has allowed us to carry on the significant investment programme, key to ensuring the long-term future of the Society.”

To read the Annual Report please visit the Latest Publications section of the website.


RHS Secondary land logo 2016

 RHASS urges members to register for EU Referendum postal vote


The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) is calling on its members to register for a postal vote in the EU Referendum, which falls on the first day of its flagship event The Royal Highland Show (23rd June).

More than 50,000 people are expected to flock to the four-day event at Ingliston on voting day and, with many exhibitors staying over on site, the Society is urging those who can’t make it to their local polling station to register now for a postal vote to avoid losing out on the opportunity to have their say.

Commenting on the date clash, RHASS Chairman Willie Gill said: “The Royal Highland Show is the most important four days in the country’s calendar and even a EU Referendum won’t keep showgowers away. However, it is a key vote, especially for those in the agricultural industry, and we would urge visitors who can’t vote in person to register to do it by post.  That way they can come and enjoy the Show as normal.”

The 176th Royal Highland Show, Scotland’s biggest celebration of farming, food and rural life, runs from 23rd – 26th June 2016.

Register for a postal vote in England, Scotland or Wales https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk/postal-voting

Register for a postal vote in Northern Ireland http://www.eoni.org.uk/Vote/Voting-by-post-or-proxy



For further press information please contact Judith at O’Leary PR 0131 526 3190 | judith@olearypr.co.uk


RHASS Chief Executive Announces Departure



RHASS Chief Executive Announces Departure

Stephen Hutt, Chief Executive of The Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), has today announced that he is to leave the Society at the end of April.

Appointed in April 2011, Stephen has led RHASS through a number of significant changes, most notably the redevelopment plans for the Royal Highland Centre; the expansion of the Society’s education charity, The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) and the advancement of the Society’s flagship event, The Royal Highland Show, which last year attracted close to 190,000 visitors – a record attendance for the premier agricultural event.

With a financial background, Stephen also developed a successful strategy for the introduction of new commercial income streams on the Society’s 280-acre site adjacent to Edinburgh International Airport.

Commenting on his departure, Stephen said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Society and I’m proud of what has been achieved; particularly with regard to the development of the management team who are focused on delivering on the aspirations of the Society. I am confident RHASS will continue to develop and grow under the stewardship of the RHASS directors.”

Commenting on his departure, RHASS Chairman, Willie Gill said: “Stephen has been a huge asset to the Society and will be sorely missed. Over the last five years we have seen record revenues, surpluses and capital investment and are pleased that he leaves the charity in such a strong position. We wish him every success in his new role.”

Stephen will join Perth-based Green Highland Renewables as Chief Financial Officer.


Stephen Hutt - Chief Executive RHASS

RHASS chief executive Stephen Hutt


RHASS Directors give backing to changes at Royal Highland Show


Directors of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) have today given their backing to a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring the best visitor experience for the 190,000 visitors expected at the 2016 Royal Highland Show.

Created in consultation with the event’s stakeholders including Police Scotland, licensees and industry bodies, the reforms include the zoning of the showground to restrict access and reviewing the size and structure of licensed premises on site to ensure that they reflect the culture and values of the award-winning event.

The agreed proposals also feature a code of conduct for the Members’ Area, the self-regulation of kist parties and the banning of carrying or consuming alcohol when walking around the showground.

It is intended that these recommendations will stamp out incidents of antisocial behaviour which led to negative feedback from a number of showgoers attending last year’s event.

RHASS Chairman, William Gill, said: “These recommendations, which have been given signoff by the Directors of the RHASS board, will ensure that the Royal Highland Show remains a world class event which can be enjoyed by all those who attend.

“The aim is not in any way to detract from the social aspect of the show, but to moderate the behaviour of a handful of visitors that, if goes unchallenged, has the potential to damage the reputation of RHASS’ flagship event. Work now begins on implementing these recommendations, determining what the changes mean in practical terms and communicating RHASS’ code of conduct to visitors well in advance of the show.”

The Royal Highland Show takes place from 23rd – 26th June at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston. www.royalhighlandshow.org